The International Community Health Services (ICHS) Foundation will hold its annual fundraising gala on Saturday, May 21 at the downtown Westin Seattle Hotel.

Proceeds from the event will benefit ICHS, a Seattle-based non-profit community health center that provides affordable medical and dental care to underserved immigrants and refugees in the Puget Sound. Founded in the early 1970s, ICHS operates medical-dental clinics in the International District and Holly Park, serving over 18,000 patients.

Recent state budget woes have led to huge proposed cuts to ICHS and at other community clinics which serve as the safety net for thousands of uninsured and underinsured residents through the state. If state cuts are fully implemented, ICHS could lose half of its entire budget, threatening the survival of the state’s largest API health care and dental provider and making its services less accessible to many of the state’s neediest residents.

Lori Matsukawa, anchor for KING-5 TV, will emcee the “2011 Bloom Gala”, which is expected to attract over 450 health care providers, community leaders, elected officials and supporters. This year’s honorary co-chairs are Martha Choe, chief administrator officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Phyllis Campbell, chair of the Pacific Northwest region for JP Morgan Chase & Company.

This year’s Bamboo Awards for Health will be presented to the Puget Sound Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which supports access to breast health screening and education for API women, and Dr. David McLanahan, a long-time volunteer specialist at ICHS.

“The looming cuts make this fundraising gala all the more important this year,” said Ron Chew, ICHS Foundation executive director. “We’re hoping for a good turnout.”

The KeyBank Foundation will issue a special challenge match during the Raise the Paddle to help support the area of greatest need for ICHS: uncompensated care.

The event begins with registration and reception at 5:30 and dinner at 7 pm. Individual tickets are $125, with a $25 discount for early registration by April 30. For inquiries about purchasing tickets or sponsorships, contact Claire Cho at (206) 788-3694 or Ron Chew at (206) 788-3693.


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